Religious Court System
Religious courts have jurisdiction over all matters of “personal status”. This includes most family law matters such as marriage, divorce, child custody, and adoption or guardianship. Consequently, there is no civil marriage or divorce in Jordan.
Shari’a (Muslim religious law) applies to Muslims in these areas and a Shari’a court system exists to adjudicate disputes. Various Christian religious “Councils” within the main Christian Sects (including Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Armenian Catholic) handle similar cases involving members of their church communities. The civil courts administer cases of other religious groups, including Protestants, usually applying the religious law of the closest religious community.
Religious courts also handle all inheritance matters. Under Jordanian law, however, Shari’a law must be applied by all the courts with regard to inheritance. Thus, if the deceased is Greek Orthodox, the Greek Orthodox court will administer the inheritance but will apply Shari’a law which requires, among other things, the distribution of twice as many shares of property to each son as compared to each daughter.